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Innovation in Complex Reconstructive Surgery

Mount Sinai is Canada’s referral centre for complex hip and knee reconstruction cases and is considered a power hub of world-renowned experts in the field.
Innovation in Complex Reconstructive Surgery

Dr. David Backstein

The ambition to make a prosthetic joint work like a normal joint is what drives Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. David Backstein, an international leader in the areas of knee and hip reconstruction.  Dr. Backstein leads a team of Arthroplasty surgeons at Mount Sinai Hospital that sees the most complex cases in Ontario. Because of the sheer volume of reconstructive surgeries and the outstanding talent that it has been able to attract, Mount Sinai Hospital has established itself as a leader in the area.

The most challenging surgical cases that Dr. Backstein performs are revisions. These are patients who have already undergone a knee or hip replacement, however, as a result of a number of factors including complications such as infection, bone loss, or the age of the prosthetic, need to have the prosthetic replaced. The surgery is very complex because tendons and ligaments would have been removed in the original surgery.  An incredible 40% of the 600 hip and knee replacements performed at Mount Sinai Hospital every year are revisions – more than any other hospital in Ontario.

With an aging population and an increased expectation by patients of a quality of life that is associated with younger patients, the need for prosthetic knees and hips has risen.  To address the increased demand, Dr. Backstein has PROMOTED a model of care that allows more efficient use of operative time,  more rapid mobilization and discharge as well as utilization of an advanced practice physiotherapist who works with patients leading up to and following surgery. As a result of Dr. Backstein’s innovative approach, last year, the department was recognized by the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care for the lowest wait times for knee replacements in Ontario. 

Dr. Backstein, who was born at Mount Sinai Hospital, knew from early in his training that working at  Mount Sinai would be ideal and had hoped to obtain a position at this location. “Mount Sinai has established itself as one of the best internationally in this area. No hospital has better reputation,” says Dr. Backstein.

Dr. Backstein was mentored by Mount Sinai’s Dr. Allan Gross, who performed Canada’s first fresh tissue knee transplant in 1972.  Five years later, his team performed Canada’s first hip joint transplant. Today, Mount Sinai is Canada’s referral centre for complex cases and has become well known as a power hub of world-renowned experts practicing game-changing medicine.

As a passionate educator, Dr. Backstein has committed to pushing the boundaries of knowledge and surgical skills to the more than 150 trainees and observers who seek to learn from his renown skill. He was Director of the undergraduate surgical education program at University of Toronto between 2004-2011 and continues to  not  only guide the next generation of surgeons, but to conduct important research on the most effective teaching tools for surgeons.  “Every case is a unique challenge. Teaching keeps you at your best – one always has to be up to date on the latest technology and advancements in the field,” says Dr. Backstein.